23rd PSALMS: Vs. 1
“The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.” (KJV.)
Soldiers sob it in foxholes, preachers recite it at funerals, and, children learn it in Primary Sunday School classes. However, this, the most well know of all verses in the Bible, is also the most all-encompassing promise to be found.
Think about it: “I shall not want!”
But don’t dare think about it for very long — for you will quickly discover that you do have ‘wants’. I daresay that everyone on the earth has wants. A new car, bigger house, better neighborhood, more money, better health, more leisure, travel, love, or a big screen TV.
Even pastors have wants, they want larger congregations, larger contributions, more salvations — the list could go on and on because every single human being on earth has wants.
Could this passage be a provision that was exclusive to David, the writer of this Psalm?
Or—could it perhaps be that it only applies to those who have reached that seemingly unattainable state of bliss in Christ Jesus—that state where all our thoughts are centered on being a servant of Christ Jesus—that place where we have no farther ‘wants’ other than to live only to serve Him?
Or, could it really mean just what it says to us; “All my wants are met by Christ Jesus?”
Remember we are concentrating on ‘wants’ here, not needs. Our ‘needs’ have been promised in Philippians 4:19, where it is written: ‘But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus’. This is further reinforced in 2nd Corinthians 1: 20, that states: ‘For all the promises in God in Him are ‘Yea’ and ‘Amen’.
No other than our Lord himself asked, “Or what man is there of you whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if fish, will he give him a serpent? If then, being evil you know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?” (Matt. 7: 9-11)
I choose to take this verse as a promise and that all my ‘wants’ are met. This word translated ‘want’ in the KJV of Psalm 23:1 is the Hebrew word ‘chacer’. In the ancient Hebrew language ‘chacer’ (khaw-sare’) meant: ‘to lack’, ‘to fail’ ‘to decrease’ or, ‘(have) lack’. Nowhere in Psalms 23:1 does it limit this promise to my ‘needs’; it clearly states ‘my wants’. I don’t know about you, but I have a pretty big ‘want’ list.
And to be honest, my ‘wants’ have not all been met.
But wait a moment! At times some or our ‘wants’ are in direct contrast to the commands of the scripture. Could the answer to this apparent contrast between the scriptural promises—and the reality of ‘real’ life—lie in the first portion of this first verse of Psalms 23? You know. . . that portion about “The Lord is my Shepherd.’
Could it possible be that we are not allowing the Lord to be our shepherd?
Have we allowed our dependency upon our own intelligence and abilities to supersede our dependency on Jesus Christ and His ability to fill both our needs and our wants because of our obsession with our wants?
Think about it!
Additional reading: Psalms 34:9, Psalms 34:10, 2nd Peter 1: 3, Hebrews 11:6
TRIALS, TRIBULATIONS, AND . . . . . PATIENCE?
In our last visit we talked about the trials and temptations—(but not about patience)–through our times of trouble.
WHERE DO TRIBULATIONS AND TRIALS COME FROM?
We often ask ourselves, “Where do these trials and tribulations come from?”
TRIALS are mentioned many times in both the Old and the New Testaments. Lump all the definitions together and you get ‘Test’.
TRIBULATION, on the other hand, is a funny word. Let me put it this way: I am certain that you have been to a carnival or fair, or perhaps a child’s birthday party, where the clowns blow up those long skinny balloons and then twist them into funny shapes–like dogs, cats or monkeys. When you take all of the various meanings of ‘tribulation’ and shake them up, then toss them out, the combined definitions turns out to be like the balloons at the carnival.
That is the true meaning of tribulation. ‘To be pressured, to be twisted, to be squeezed, to be bent out of shape.’
(‘Patience’ will have to wait for another time, because I don’t have time for that now! LOL 🙂
In regard to trials and tribulation, there is one verse that I would like to call to your attention. It is an obscure verse written in a very important chapter of the Bible. One that we almost totally ignore. It is the 16th verse of Chapter 54 in the Book of Isaiah. It says:
16 “Behold, I have created the smith that bloweth the coals in the fire, and that bringeth forth an instrument for his work; and I have created the waster to destroy.”
Plainly stated this says, “Look at this! I AM the ONE who created the black smith that works the billows which blows on the coals in the hearth of life.”
Our first thought on reading this is, “Nawh! That can’t be God!” But yes, it really is God! God created every thing that ever is, ever was, and ever shall be.
Who can deny this?
In Part One I stated: “Obliviously the answer is that God the Father wants to know if we are truly His—or—how far are we willing to go in our quest to bring the gospel not into only our own neighborhood, but into all the world.
If we had no TRIALS we would have no FAITH. For it is by ‘FAITH’ that we stand or fall before God. With faith we will be like Father Abraham and judged righteous. Without faith in Jesus Christ as our savor and redeemer we are certain to come to a terrifying place. A place without a designated end time. That is far longer than the ‘Use before’ date on the top of your milk carton. There is NO END! Forever is, well . . . FOREVER!
In the middle of verse 16, God speaks to us concerning the smith: “And that bringest forth an instrument for his work.” What are the instruments of his work? This is a subject that is too broad to cover here, but let it suffice to say the instruments are not only anger, disgust, unforgiveness, murder, greed, quest for control or power, but every sin under the sun that can be named.
The latter part of the verse, “and I have created the waster to destroy” is very ominous. Think of all the people killed in wars from the beginning of time until this day. Isn’t it Satan’s work; ‘to be a destroyer’?
Think of all who have been killed in accidents, some by the initiation of their own actions, others as casualties of actions caused by others.
Add to that all the people killed by disease.
Don’t even try to count the heathen killed by their fellow religious followers’, who are of another sect, although they claim to worship the same god, all have believed the ‘fools lie’ of ‘Paradise with 72 virgins’. ALL AT THE HANDS OF THE WASTER!
It is extremely hard to believe that our God, ‘Who so loved the world’ would ever bring sickness, wars, disease, any and all things bad and ugly upon us. So, don’t believe it for HE DOESN’T!
However He allows ‘Old Smut Face’—Satan himself, to do the dirty work. If you doubt this, go back and re-read Job.
Now we know where tribulations and trials come from. With this knowledge we must turn to Ephesians 6:10-18 and simply follow the directions.
PROCEED with all FAITH. Stand with a strong FAITH that Jesus IS our deliver and He is faithful to carry out his promises.
BELIEVE, TRUST AND OBEY!
Next: Part Three, ‘PATIENCE what we should strive for’.
Until then, LOVE IS ALL !
Larry Straight from the Top
OUR WALLS ARE CRUMBLING!
I AM NOT ASKING FOR YOUR VOTE !
I AM NOT EVEN ASKING FOR YOUR MONEY !
And I hope that I can count you as a friend, because we both have several things in common.
One thing is, ‘We both fear that we are losing control of our beloved Nation’!
It is my belief that you are as concerned as I, that our Dear Nation is on a downhill slide and if we do not take action SOON, our way of life as we once knew it, will be lost forever.
THINK NOT of ourselves but of our children, our grandchildren, and the future generations that will follow.
THINK DEEPLY of the chaos, fear, lawlessness, less and less income, and the dire results that will follow.
THINK DEEPLY of our grandchildren living a life unable to purchase quality food, own their own home, buy healthcare resulting in disease rampant and unchecked. Unable to purchase the bare necessities to enable not only a comfortable life, but just a life.
THINK NOT of ourselves, but think of the total annihilation of our society, our democracy that we so cherish! Our personal freedom. . .
YOU think it cannot happen? I think it is already happening !
THINK of the once mighty nations. Of the Persians, the Greeks, The Israelites, the Romans. All once mighty world powers, all living in luxury, yet all brought down to slavery.
ARE YOU THINKING YET ? If not, remember, “History repeats itself because the leaders never learn history.”
But it need not be so. Together we can overcome the threats to our nation. United we CAN change the course of our destiny.
See! No vote and no money required. Just a few minutes of your time.
ARE YOU WITH ME ?
WILL YOU JOIN ME?
If you are willing to help, join me at Larryboy3115@att.net and let me know. Or answer at the comment section at the bottom of this page.
Also look for this site: WordPress/Larryboy/straight from the top I will be adding additional information enabling you to help our children and our grandchildren!
And please pass this along to any one you know that is interested in the future of our nation.
No spam, no phishing, no cookies! This is the Straight Stuff!
“He maketh me to lie down in green pastures” (KJV)
In this passage the first thought that we must grapple with is our understanding of the archaic English verb ‘maketh’. (‘make’ in the NIV.) Unlike the comedian Flip Wilson who claimed, ‘The Devil made me do it!” ‘Our Shepherd’ never ‘MAKES’ us do anything. Every act, ever thought, every word, every deed and every action, is committed of our own free will. The choice is ours to make. And, I must add, so are the consequences!
Choosing from the options in the Hebrew dictionary a better choice for the word rendered ‘maketh’ would be ‘invites’, or ‘allows’. Thus we understand: “He invites me to lie down in green pastures.” Or: “He allows me to lie down in green pastures.”
With the invitational concept in mind, lets examine the contrast between our present culture and the culture in existence when this psalm was written.
In this present age, ones wealth, and often our peace of mind, is measured in properties, stocks, bonds, or cash. On the other hand our ‘perceived’ financial worth is often estimated by our friends and acquaintances in automobiles, boats, jewelry, and houses.
In opposition, in the nomadic/agrarian time in which this psalm was written, wealth was not measured in coins or paper. Instead it was measured in the amount of sheep one owned. This concept was true in all countries from Egypt eastward to India—at that time considered the boundaries of civilization.
- · Mesha, the king of Moab, had to pay the king of Israel one hundred thousand lambs plus another one hundred thousand rams, with the wool still intact, each year for ‘protection’. (2nd Kings 3: 4)
- · In Job 42: 12 we are told that after Job’s trial was over he gained fourteen thousand sheep.
- · Solomon sacrificed one hundred twenty thousand sheep at the dedication of the temple. (1st. Kings 8: 63)
- · Throughout the Old Testament vast numbers of sheep are recorded in trade or dowries. But none exceeded the amount recorded when the tribe of Manasseh defeated the Hagarites (descendents of Ishmael, son of Hager the slave girl, fathered by Abraham, and forerunner of today’s Islam). The tribe of Manasseh took from the Hagrites, in addition to other animals and humans, two hundred fifty thousand sheep!
From these numbers we easily conclude that the most valuable items possessed were sheep. And, we might add: ‘Sheep were not subject to ‘market fluctuations’.
In many places in the scriptures, the Children of Promise, and by extension; we Christians, are referred to as ‘sheep’. No verse is more prominent than the latter part of Psalm 100:3 that states: “We are his people and the sheep of his pasture.”
You might ask, “How does all this about ‘sheep’ relate to us in our present hi-tech society in which every family owns at least 2 cars, 3 or more ‘smart phones’, but not very many sheep?
Here’s how. By using the ‘invitation’ concept, we can relate the past to the present when we read the first part of verse 2 as follows:
“He invites me to lie down in green pastures”
It is quite simple. There are three trains of thought that can be followed. The first is:
1. As the descendants of Abraham increased in population more turned from the nomadic life of shepherding and turned to farming, tradesmen, and craftsmen.
Forests were cut for construction, or gave way to cultivation of grains, vineyards, olive groves, and fruits.
Even then the Hebrew family never gave up their goats and sheep because these animals supplied the material for the bulk of their clothing as well as a portion of their food. Consequentially each family maintained a sheepfold to protect their stock.
If after guiding his flock on a difficult forage in dry weather, where the main fare was ‘skimpy pickings’, a shepherd might by chance came upon a
grassy field where the owner invited him to bring his flock and let them eat and rest, the shepherd would have counted his flock’s wants as met.
2. The second thought is similar: ‘In the hot, arid land of Palestine, the major rains only occurred in the October/December period and the February/March period. The only other refreshing moisture for the remainder of the year came at night as fog from the Mediterranean.’ What could be more welcome than suddenly wandering upon a heretofore-unknown pasture, and the shepherd inviting (maketh – KJV) his flock to lie down in this shaded, cool and lush, pasture? Both ‘His’ and ‘their’ wants were met.
3. The third, and most important is this: If the most valuable possession one owns is sheep, and if we truly are ‘the sheep of His pasture’, would not the Creator, Almighty God, who loves us so much, meet our ‘wants’ by inviting us to symbolically lie down in lush, green pastures to and achieve rest from our current problems?
As you think on the possibilities of this verse, and recognize the fantastic truth within it, you will understand that you have every right to accept the gentle care of ‘The Shepherd’ for his flock.
Why not put God to the test by choosing your greatest ‘want’.
Choose whatever your greatest ‘want’ or ‘need’ is, and speak it out loud substituting this ‘want’ or ‘need’, for the biblical phrase, ‘Green Pastures’.
God has already made HIS promise. Now it is up to YOU to accept or reject it!
Will you accept this invitation to His refreshment and His goodness today?
Begin today by confessing the following: “He invites me into (insert your want or need here. Examples: A larger paycheck; Better health; Closer walk with God.; Etc. Etc. )
Keep this thought in mind and repeat it over and over until it becomes a part of your expectations.
You will get what your mouth speaks! (Read Proverbs 18:21)
Ownership of intellectual property retained by Larry Camp.
I live in a portion of Texas where the main industry is oil and gas production. That is to say that our main income producing industry is either drilling, producing, maintaining or transporting oil and gas. Also producing the necessary water to drill wells, or water-flood near depleted wells.
On any given day over fifty one percent of the total drilling rigs running in the northern hemisphere of the Americas are drilling in Texas. Today the rig count in Texas is down by 11.3% thanks to an overabundance of natural gas as well as DOE and EPA restriction policies. Today there are 838 (land) oil drilling rigs operating in Texas. The state nearest to that count is Oklahoma with 194 (land) rigs running.
Today Texas will produce 2.139 million barrels of oil at a price of $96.08 per barrel for a total income of $205,515,120 million dollars, and that is for one day only!
At the current price that would amount to $75,013,018,000 Billion dollars annually!
A side note is required here: ‘All oil revenue in Texas, other than the ‘School Lands’ that was set aside at the founding of the Republic of Texas to finance schools, comes from privately owned land and is mostly drilled, produced and sold by either individuals, or small companies. Exon Mobil, BP, Conoco-Phillips and Chevron are all small potatoes in this state.
The annual oil production, in U.S. dollars, from Texas oil alone, is only (approximately) $11 Billion dollars less than the annual total industrial output of the ‘Peoples Republic of China’—exceeding third place Japan’s total ‘industrial output’ by slightly over $7.9 Billion annually.
President Obama continues to try to eliminate the oil business in the U.S. by both restrictions and taxes. A good example of the travesty of his ideology of taxing ‘Big Oil’ is to eliminate the ‘Depletion Allowance’. He calls it ‘Eliminating Big Oil’s Loopholes’.
By way of explanation; the cost of drilling a five thousand foot deep well today is approximately $1.75 Million dollars. This is a one-time CAPITAL INVESTMENT and as such is a ‘direct expense’ whether the well makes ‘pay’ or is a ‘dry hole’.
Should the well be an ‘oiler’, or ‘gasser’ the actual amount of recoverable resources are unknown. What IS known is the resources will not last forever. ‘Depletion’ is the USING UP of the resources as they are consumed. For this unknown amount of depletion of unknown resources the IRS allows the owner or the investor to to take a deduction of 15% annually of the GROSS INCOME of the well. Please note this is GROSS INCOME not NET INCOME!
Compare this with the capital investment of building a manufacturing plant or a shopping center. The investor may set his DEPRECIATION for the number of years of LIFE EXPECTANCY of the structure. This could be 10, 15, 20 or even 30 years.
If the owner selects twenty years as the optimum life of the structure, he may divide the total cost of the construction of the structure by 20 and that is the annual depreciation. This depreciation is a direct deduction from the owners total income PRIOR to taxes.
Do you EVER hear of anyone shouting for the removal of depreciation allowances on REAL PROPERTY?
Can anyone fail to see the hypocrisy here? Anyone notice the hue and cry of campaign mode pomposity in his call for removal of ‘BIG OIL’ loopholes in the oil producer’s taxes, while ignoring REAL PROPERTY TAXES? (No, I am not in the oil business.)
On the other hand Facebook.com recently announced that it had a net operating profit in excess of $1 Billion dollars last year.
How much tax did Facebook pay on that? NOT ONE RED CENT!
In fact, they received a TAX REFUND OF $449 Million dollars!
It is an interesting fact that the originator of Facebook, Mark Zukerberg is a friend of President Obama, and that Facebook contributed $100,000.00 Dollars to President Obama’s re-election campaign. I don’t suppose this ‘friendship’ and/or campaign contribution could have influenced the IRS in anyway in Facebook’s taxes and their tax return. Do You?
JUST SAYING, THAT’S ALL! Larry Camp